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What a difference when you can see.

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  • What a difference when you can see.

    I've been working to tune-up my old Millermatic 35 and knock some rust off my mediocre welding skills. A couple good things happened in my practice today.

    I have been perplexed about how much splatter I was getting and felt roughness of the feed wire running through the gun. So today I cleaned the liner tube, removed the recently installed Weld-Aid felt wire cleaner, recessed the contact tip back into the nozzle about .100 and cranked up the wire speed. 430 IPM, .035 wire, heat tap 5, 140-180 amps on .250" T-Joints. Much better results.

    But I have 68 yr old eyes and I struggle with wandering off my line. I run a Miller Digital Performance hood so I just started playing around with weld shade settings. Normally I am set on #10, but after trying 11 and 12, I dropped down to #9 shade and shazam! I could see the puddle and the toe of the bead I was trying to follow. After that, I ran the best beads I have since jumping back in.

    Now, I start wondering if a 9 shade is safe for MIG short-circuit?

  • #2
    Originally posted by FootSoldier View Post
    ...Now, I start wondering if a 9 shade is safe for MIG short-circuit?
    Short answer is yes. The hood is always blocking far more UV light than visible light, and will block the same amount of UV no matter what the visible shade is. The visible shade is mostly for your comfort as long as you can recover from how bright it might still be at varying amperage levels.

    I don't weld full-time, but I do more than my fair share. I use shade 9.


    • #3
      I find it's a balancing act. Too much or too little shade can prevent viewing. If it's too bright through the hood it will also hide the puddle. I have cheater lenses in my hood. Helps with my near sighted eyes.


      • #4
        I have a couple of #10 fixed shade huntsman hoods that I used for years. When I switched to an auto darkening hood, I found that as I got older, with shade#10 I would sometimes veer off the weld line. Dropped the setting to #9, added reading glasses and I can see the weld just as well as I ever have. Been using shade #9 for mig for a number of years now with no ill effects.


        • #5
          I use 9 most of the time. If I’m doing a lot of welding at one time, I’ll throw on a pair of sunglasses under the hood. That seems to help with the big blue dot in the center of my vision when I’m done.


          • #6
            What made the biggest difference for me in seeing the puddle was when my autodark shield's headgear broke in welding class, and I was forced (for the first time) to use a fixed-shade. It was like night and day!

            Now I use a fixed shade #11 gold about 75% of the time, and only use my Miller Digital Elite when tacking or crawling around under a truck or someplace where I can't easily nod down the shield...


            • #7
              This is a good discussion. I struggle at times staying on-line as well. I find it easy to see the puddle but harder to see the 'line' or seam I'm trying to weld. I found putting some kind of straight edge near my welding line helps.


              • #8
                I use a Markal silver streak welding marker when I'm cutting or laying out metal. If I have a long weld to make without stopping, I have used it to mark a line next to the weld seam. It shows up well enough while welding to keep me from wandering off to "Oh, S**t city."